Tradition runs rampant around Thanksgiving: generations of old recipes, football, Alice’s Restaurant, The Last Waltz, and, of course, a parade of balloons shutting down NYC. What else do you need? If you thought you were covered in the Thanksgiving tradition department, we did too…until a few years ago, when someone blew the dust off a long lost tape — Doug Sahm’s Thanksgiving Jam.
Thanksgiving weekend, 1972: the Grateful Dead found themselves in Austin, allowing Garcia and Lesh to rendezvous with an old Bay Area running buddy, Mr. Tex-Mex himself, Doug Sahm, and piano-journeyman Leon Russell, at the famed Armadillo World Headquarters for a musical cornucopia of roots music. No genre was left untouched – blues, bluegrass, R&B, rock & roll, honky tonk and, naturally, Bob Dylan. All played with an ad hoc band, including members of Texas psychedelic pranksters The 13th Floor Elevators and Shiva’s Headband, with a setlist that effortlessly bounces from hellcat versions of Kristofferson’s “Me & Bobby McGee” and the Stones’ “Wild Horses”, to a don’t-spill-your-beer “T For Texas”, saddled with stompin-the-nails-out-of-the-floorboard cuts like “Hey Bo Diddley” and “Money Honey”. This is a shitkicker of show, best served turned up, with fistfuls of turkey and pint glass of your favorite sumthin’. words/ d norsen